Why does MSNBC tolerate Chris Matthews’s misogyny?

Amy Siskind Contributor
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Well, apparently Chris Matthews missed President Obama’s Tucson Memorial Speech. The speech in which the president called for civility and toning down the rhetoric. Either that, or Matthews prefers to ignore it!

On the eve of the SOTU, Chris Matthews was back on familiar ground: demeaning women in power. Matthews’s latest target: Representative Michele Bachmann. In fact, Matthews got so wound up in his misogyny that he lost his composure and control. He referred to Representative Bachmann as a “balloon head” three times; referred to her as “this woman” five times (foregoing the proper salutation of Congresswoman or Representative), and just for good measure, used an alleged quote from Stephen Schmidt: “She doesn’t know anything.”

That’s in a span of three minutes. Honestly, how is this women-hatred tolerated by MSNBC without rebuke?

Matthews is one thing. He’s a known sexist pig. It’s not misogyny based on political party. Recall, Matthews referred to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “She Devil,” “Nurse Ratched,” “Madame Defarge.” No, Matthews has a familiar pattern: he purposefully strikes out at any woman who is rising in power.

But Matthews is not alone. In recent years, we have had three women who expressed (or did not deny) an interest in holding the highest office in our land: Secretary Clinton, Governor Sarah Palin and Representative Bachmann. In each case, the media (largely the progressive media) has gone on a witch hunt to take them down.

The plot line is always the same: create a caricature of the woman and destroy her public image. If the facts don’t quite fit, make them up. Create a story line to advance a simple notion: no woman will ever make it to the highest office on our media’s watch!

Well, not so fast. Perhaps Representative Bachmann is on to something. She, like Sarah Palin, is taking power, not waiting for it to be granted. She’s not trying to be a “good girl.” She is advancing on her own terms — giving the male-dominated media and political party system the ole end-around. The notion of which drives the establishment crazy.

Which is why I admire what Representative Bachmann is doing. Sure, she and I are diametrically opposed on almost every issue. But here’s where we intersect: I know a thing or two about power from my years on Wall Street. It’s all the same. In most cases, for women to get to the top, they need to take a non-traditional, circuitous route. And that is just what Representative Bachmann is doing. To which I say: brava!

The only way our country will ever see a woman president is if we finally put away the “good girl” image and play by our own rules. I hope the women of the Democratic Party will do the same. Our country is long overdue.

And as for Chris Matthews, it’s simple math. I know, I know — we women don’t really get math, but we do know this: many of us who loyally watched MSNBC no longer do. Why? Because of the sexist treatment of women by Matthews and his former colleague, Keith Olbermann. Perhaps MSNBC will, for business reasons, end the rest of the misogyny soon!

Amy Siskind is the President and Co-Founder of The New Agenda, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls.